You don't have to be a fortune teller to see that business analytics figures prominently in IBM's future.
Big Blue is taking an active role in shaping that future by acquiring San Francisco-based, Tealeaf Technology, a maker of customer experience management and analytics software. The deal's financial terms remain undisclosed.
The online customer behavior specialist makes products that track consumer interactions and give businesses insights into the effectiveness of their Web and mobile e-commerce initiatives. For example, retailers can use Tealeaf's software to pinpoint the factors that are causing consumers to abandon online shopping carts or to discover and replicate patterns that lead to successful online transactions.
Its technology platform powers the customer service and retention efforts of a number of several high-profile online businesses. Over 450 companies use Tealeaf, including Dell, Zappos, StubHub, Wells Fargo and Best Buy.
IBM envisions that Tealeaf's tech will provide marketing executives with timely and improved visibility into what motivates today's "empowered" customers, said IBM's general manager of Industry Solutions, Craig Hayman. "With these new capabilities from Tealeaf, we can not only provide chief marketing officers and other marketing leaders the qualitative insights into how customers actually experience their brands, but show them how to react in real time across marketing, sales and service."
Tealeaf will be folded into the Enterprise Marketing and Management (EMM) group as part of IBM's Smarter Commerce drive. So far, the IT giant has spent $3 billion on building a products and services portfolio that leverages business intelligence and Big Data analytics technologies to help companies pull actionable insights from the mountains of data they gather.
In October, IBM spent $440 million to snap up DemandTec, a cloud-based commerce analytics firm. Earlier this year, IBM released the Netezza Customer Intelligence Appliance, an SQL-based system that analyzes petabytes of Big Data for retailers. The technology stems from the $1.7 billion purchase of Netezza in September 2010.
Hefty sums, but IBM's rivals aren't about to let it use its seemingly limitless cash reserves to corner the market on customer and marketing analytics.
Teradata Lassos eCircle
IBM isn't the only software provider looking to combine the power of analytics with the reach of digital marketing. This week, Teradata made waves of its own by acquiring Munich-based marketing cloud services provider eCircle. Terms were not disclosed.
Teradata intends to roll eCircle's digital and email marketing offerings into a new integrated suite that includes the company's own enterprise analytics products and marketing management offerings from its Aprimo subsidiary.
The combination will allow Teradata to build a digital messaging platform with the scale to generate hundreds of billions of messages each year across a variety of channels, including Web, social, mobile and email. They also plan to leverage Big Data analytics to glean insights from content and data derived from those channels.